ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday granted six weeks to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit its rules in pursuant of the apex court’s order dated July 23. 

In this connection, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed had asked the NAB Chairman to frame rules in terms of Section 34 of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, as the SoPs are not substitute for the rules. 

The two-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed conducted hearing of suo moto notice regarding NAB rules.

During the hearing, Justice Gulzar asked about the rules and special Prosecutor NAB replied that they have sent proposed rules to President for approval. However, he added that the President returned the same with objection that the rules be sent through Ministry of Law and Justice. The NAB prosecutor requested the court to grant six weeks time for submission of the rules. Accepting the request the Chief Justice deferred the case for six weeks.

According to the proposed rules, Chairman NAB has the authority to appoint Director Generals and Directors in the Bureau. 

The Chairman NAB will issue guidelines for the arrest of a person accused of corrupt practices and it would be mandatory for all officials to follow them.

It added that the NAB Chairman would give a final nod for any reference against the accused and only he would have the authority to decide on it and issue guidelines for the reference. The reference would be filed a month later after approval from the Chairman.

Under the proposed rules, the Chairman would have the authority to hire officials on BPS-19 and above grades while Director General Human Resource would make appointments on vacant posts between BPS-16 to BPS-18. Director Human Resource would make appointments on BPS-1 to BPS-15 posts.

The fresh proposed rules also laid down guidelines for arrests, reference, voluntary return of the amount, and plea bargain. Complaint and its verification, inquiry, and investigation process are also defined under new proposed rules.

It further said that complaints received to the NAB headquarters would be sent to the concerned NAB office and would be presented before the regional board within one month of after being received.

The regional board would be bound to verify the complaint within eight weeks and would convert it into an inquiry after receiving credible information on it.

The new proposed rules submitted to the Supreme Court read that continued that the arrests could be made during the inquiry process if required and the NAB officials would be bound to complete the inquiry process within a month and could get an extension of one month in the period if needed.

The chairman NAB could further extend the period by three weeks.

It added that the investigation officer would also be bound to maintain a diary of the investigation process.